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Top 14 Things to do in Serbia

things to do in Serbia

Serbia is a Balkan country and is in Central-Southern Europe. The natural beauties of the country make Serbia a popular tourist destination. But also, the lively cities, as well as the small village, attract curious travelers.

Historically the country has a lot to offer. Thus, seven Roman emperors were born in Serbia. And countless monuments and sites have been dedicated to them, which are distributed throughout the whole country. You can also explore beautiful Medieval Orthodox monasteries, which are also worth a visit. And if you want to go even further back in history, then Serbia is the right place for you. From here you can visit traces of the oldest settlements in all of Europe.

The Serbs are welcoming people. They are very friendly, open, and known for being outgoing. Serbia has become a popular destination for music lovers and festival fans in recent years. The capital Belgrade is one of the most popular cities and the party hotspot of the country. In Serbia there are so many different things you can do, so you should check this list to find the right thing for you.

1. Belgrade

things to do in Serbia

Belgrade is also called the “White City” and is now the capital of Serbia. It used to be the capital of Yugoslavia. And that’s another reason why Belgrade is today a home of a mixture of different architectural styles. It is also one of the most important cities in South-Eastern Europe. In Belgrade, there are many sights that should not be missed. This includes the Kalemegdan Fortress, which suffered many attacks, was destroyed several times, and later rebuilt. The Byzantines, the Hungarians and the Serbian kings shaped the architecture of this Belgrade Fortress. 

Another important sight is the Republic Square where the National Theatre and the Museum of Belgrade are located. Both are worth a visit for those interested in culture. The Belgrade Zoo offers a welcome pastime for young and old. And if you want to learn about the varied history of Serbia, Belgrade Cathedral and the Old Royal Palace are the right places for you.

On the other hand, the pedestrian zone Knez Mihailova is a popular shopping street and the neighborhood Skardarlija is an urban old town district that is popular among artists and party people. In Addition, the capital of Serbia has a vibrant nightlife. Therefore, Belgrade is also sometimes referred to as the “Berlin of the Balkans”. Along the two rivers, there are many riverboats and barges, they are called Splavs. Some Belgrade Splavs have been turned into nightclubs and have become a brand of the city. They play the most diverse music, so there is something for every taste.

2. Novi Sad

things to do in serbia
Photo by Miha Rekar on Unsplash

Novi Sad is a relaxed and charming city. It offers a beautiful contrast to the pulsating energy of Belgrade.  It is the second-largest city in Serbia.  Novi Sad is located on the banks of the Danube, opposite the Fruska Gora Mountains. Originally the town was founded by Serbian merchants. And today it is an industrial and financial center. From the port, near the Varadin Bridge, river cruises on the Danube can be made. Which is a popular activity among tourists.

But the city is probably more famous for the annual EXIT Festival in Novi Sad. The Music Festival was first held in 2000 and has since become one of the most popular and successful festivals in Eastern Southern Europe.  Since then, countless festival-goers from all over Europe have come every year.

3. Niš

things to do in serbia_3
Stambol Gate in Niš Fortress | Photo by Kulmalukko

Niš is one of the oldest cities in Europe and the third-largest city in Serbia.  Niš also is seen as an important stopover between Central Europe and the Middle East. The city is surrounded by rivers and mountains. Niš is a real paradise for history lovers. The appearance of the city is characterized by traces of past epochs. It is also famous as the birthplace of Emperor Constantine.  Otherwise, the city also has a young and lively atmosphere.  This is most likely due to the University of Niš.

One of the most famous sights of Niš is the Skull Tower. This attraction is especially something for people who are interested in history. The tower dates back to the time of the Ottomans. The skulls as well as the bones belong to the fallen rebels of the first Serbian uprising against the Ottomans. The entrance to the tower is very reasonable and costs about €2.

Another attraction is the fortress of Niš.  The Fortress serves more as a public park for relaxation and roaming around, during the daytime. And in the evening, it becomes a popular meeting place for the youth of Niš.  So why not just go to one of the restaurants in the fortress for dinner and mingle with the people. You should try Burek from Niš because it is said that the city has the best in Serbia.

4. Subotica

Subotica, Serbia
Photo by  Ivan from Pexels

Subotica is the fifth largest city in Serbia and one of the most beautiful in the whole country. It is the northernmost city of Serbia, and it is found right on the border with Hungary. And that is why there are many Hungarians who have lived in the city for many years. This is also the reason why you will see both languages.

Subotica is known for its buildings in the secessionist style. This architecture is based on the Art-Nuvo style and is known all over the world for its colorfully decorated buildings.  Among the top sights in Subotica, there are buildings built exactly in this secession style.  

The town hall is a must-see. It is located in the center and is the landmark of Subotica. The tower of the town hall is over 70 meters high and has a viewing platform from which you have a beautiful view of the panorama of Subotica.

The Subotica Synagogue is another impressive building in this Art-Nuvo Style. Today, the synagogue serves more as a museum than an active synagogue. The entrance fee is approx. 2€. The decorations of the building are characterized by designs of florals like tulips, roses, lilies, and peacock feathers.

The Raichle Palace is another example of the beautiful architecture in Subotica. The palace was designed by architect Raichle Ferenc, and he made it his own home. If you visit Subotica by train, you will see Raichle Ferenc Park right in front of the train station, and at the other end is the beautiful Raichle Palace. Today the building houses an art gallery. Apart from the three, there are many more Art-Nuvo buildings that you can discover during a visit.

5. Kustendorf – The Wooden Town of Kusturica

things to do in serbia

Kusturicas Town is a colorful and picturesque wooden village. It bears the German name Küstendorf. It is in the district of Zaltibor near the town of Uzice. The village has become a great attraction due to its appearance in recent years. It was built in 2002 by the famous Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica. The occasion was his film “Life is a Miracle”. Kusturicas Town shows the uniqueness and creative energy of the filmmaker. 

If you like to spend your holidays in the village, you can even stay in the wooden houses. In addition, every January the village hosts the International Music and Film Festival Coastal Village which attracts many visitors every year.

6. Iron Gate – Djerdap National Park

Iron Gate - Djerdap National Park

The Djerdap Gorge is the largest river canyon in Europe. At the same time, it is the only canyon on the Danube. The river canyon is also known as the Iron Gate. It stretches about 62 miles (about 99 kilometers) along the Carpathians. In addition, the Djerdap Gorge forms a border section between Serbia and Romania.

The best way to explore the Djerdap Gorge is during a river cruise tour. Tourists often book day trip tours, and they amount to around 50 euros. During such a tour, you drive past the Golubac Fortress. It is a medieval fortress from the 14th century, which can also be visited. You will also receive lunch on these day tours. The start and return point of the day trips are often Belgrade or Novi Sad.

7. Golubac Fortress

Golubac Fortress, Serbia

During a visit to the Iron Gate, you will discover the medieval fortresses of Golubac during a boat tour. The fortress on the banks of the Danube is one of the most beautiful in Serbia. When and by whom the fortress was built is not directly known. It is mentioned for the first time in written documents from the 14th century. The fortress has seen many different rulers – the Serbs, the Hungarians, and the Ottoman Empire.  

After the fortress was getting old, renovation work began in 2014. As part of an EU project, the plant was reconstructed in 2016. Today there is a visitor center with a museum, a restaurant and a souvenir shop (of course). In addition, the banks of the Danube have been fortified, where there is now a pier suitable for ships and even for the large river cruise ships. The entrance fee varies depending on which part of the facility you want to see and depending on the day. Thus, the price is about 5 to 13 euros.

8. Lepenski Vir

Lepenski vir, Serbia
Lepenski Vir | Photo by Philipp Weigell

Another highlight around the Iron Gate is the Lepenski Vir Museum. It is an archaeological site. The finds are the remains of the Lepenski Vir civilization. For archaeologists as well as for hobby archaeologists, this culture is an extremely important term. Because the Lepenski Vir from Serbia is considered the most important prehistoric culture in Europe. It is said that in this place, people evolved from hunter-gatherers to organized farming communities. In the museum, you can admire the remains of the settlements, which were built about 6500 to 5500 BC. And it is impressive that here you can visit the traces of the oldest European settlements.

The excavation site Lepenski Vir was originally found in another place a few kilometers away. But it had to make way due to the construction of the hydroelectric power plant. The entire excavation was moved to the vicinity of the town of Donji Milanovac, where it is now covered by a modern dome construction.

9. Tara National Park

things to do in serbia

Nature lovers will be able to enjoy the incomparable nature of Serbia in Tara National Park. The national park is home to many natural landscapes and breathtaking viewpoints. Tara National Park is considered one of the most densely forested mountains in Europe. Thus, most of the national park is mainly covered with coniferous forests.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are about 300 kilometers of marked hiking trails in Tara National Park. As well as cycle paths that are open all year round. If you like to visit impressive viewpoints, you will get your money’s worth in Tara national park. Also, keep in mind that, the most popular and often photographed point is the Banjska Stena view and worth a visit.

10. Drina River House

Drina River House, Serbia

The Drina River forms the border between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. And in the middle of the river, there is a special attraction. This is the so-called Drina River House. It became famous through a photograph in the National Geographic magazine. The house is built on a rock in the middle of the water.

The owner has already rebuilt the river house several times because the flood of the Drina has washed away the House several times. The house is still privately owned and is only used by the people who built it. However, there is a restaurant opposite, from which you have a nice view of the house.

11. Staro Selo Open-Air Museum

In the Zlatibor region, which is known as a winter sports center, you can visit Serbia’s oldest open-air museum. The museum is in the village of Sirogojno and bears the title “Staro Selo” which translates to “Old Village”. The open-air museum displays over 40 traditional wooden houses, which were collected from all over the Zlatibor region and rebuilt here. In the Etno village, you get an insight into what life in this mountain region looked like in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In addition to the houses that serve as a museum, there is a restaurant and various shops. The restaurant is an authentic tavern, where visitors can enjoy local and traditional dishes. In the souvenir shops, many traditional products are sold. Such as pottery, clothes as well as household products made of wool and homemade food. Furthermore, there are also accommodations, in the same architectural style, which can be booked for overnight stays.

12. Resava Cave

Resava Cave, Serbia

Serbia is home to countless caves. And the Resava Cave is one of the oldest caves in Serbia. The cave was discovered in 1962. And it’s 2.8 miles long and 1.75 miles deep. It was opened to visitors for the first time in 1972. The impressive cave consists of a total of 8 halls, which house fascinating stalactites and stalagmites. All rooms have their own name. Each name stands for either the appearance, the acoustics, or the objects found in it.

13. Uvac River

Uvac River Meanders, Serbia

The beautiful Uvac River flows between the towns of Nova Varoš and Sjenica. The canyon of the river Uvac is a nature reserve and flows between the mountains Zlatar and Zlatibor. It is characterized by a remarkable curve. A breathtaking view of these curves can be obtained from a viewpoint in the mountains.

The canyon of the Uvac River is also very popular with birdwatchers. Because many protected bird species are now native here. Popular leisure activity is navigating the river loops with tourist boots or catamarans. In addition, hikes are also offered in the company of a park ranger.

14. Djavolja varoš (Devil’s town)

Djavolja varoš (Devil's town), Serbia

The Devil’s City is a true wonder of nature. They are extraordinary rock formations that have been formed naturally by erosions caused by rain. Called Đavolja varoš in Serbian, the Devil’s City is in the Radan Mountains in southern Serbia. It consists of a total of 202 stone formations. Some of these textures are up to 15 meters high.  They were formed by the fact that the surrounding clay layers were eroded by the rain and thus formed the stone figures.

Apart from the natural origin of the figures, there are some legends about the Devil’s City. One legend is about a wedding. In which the devil made a family marry a sister and a brother. The entire family and all wedding guests are to represent the petrified figures. A second legend says that they are petrified devils carried by people on their backs. They then had to spend the night at the church nearby to get rid of the devils. Either way, the Devil’s Town of Serbia is a remarkable natural monument and worth a visit.

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